A typical Christian man’s New Year’s resolution list might look like this:
This year I will...
- Read the whole Bible.
- Find an accountability partner.
- Love my wife better.
- Stick to a budget.
These are all good things to do. You should read the Bible and love your wife. Achieving these things by themselves might make you a nicer guy. You might stand a little straighter at church and be an encouragement to younger men who look up to you.
But we look at each other and make judgments based on what we see. God looks a little deeper:
”Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (The Lord, to Samuel, 1 Samuel 16:7)
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.” (Jesus, Luke 6:45)
God doesn’t want our behavior to change so that we may be more acceptable to Him. He wants your heart, and mine too. As we often say at Man in the Mirror, Christianity is not about behavior modification; it’s about heart transformation.
So how do we change at the heart level? It starts with Repentance: acknowledge your sin; mourn the grief it causes God; ask Him for forgiveness; celebrate the fact that your sin is paid for by Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf; apologize to anyone you have sinned against.
Will you sin again? Yes. Will it be the same sins? Sometimes, yes. Does this mean I haven’t repented correctly? No. It means you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Authentic repentance is about your relationship with God, not becoming a better man.
2013 New Year’s Resolution No. 1: “I will repent daily.”